Fossil Hunting in New Jersey
Updated: Oct 25, 2020
Last Sunday, my family and I spent the afternoon at the Poricy Park Fossil Beds in Middletown, NJ. The park is significant because it holds an abundance of prehistoric marine fossils and in rare cases even dinosaur bones from the Cretaceous period. During that prehistoric time the area was submerged in ocean water along with the rest of the Atlantic Coastal Plain which is why the fossils are there. In present times, Poricy Brook runs through the park causing natural erosion exposing a layer of earth called the Navesink Formation which was about 72 million years ago. This layer is the time period from which the fossils that can be found at the park are from. The two highlights of going to the park are fossil hunting and viewing the geological layering caused by the natural stream that runs through it. To collect fossils is easy and just requires a few useful items such as water proof boots, a trowel, a sifter (which is basically a wood frame with some hardware cloth or "mesh wiring"), and a small bucket to hold any finds. Typical fossil finds are bivalves (two shell, clam-like fossils), brachiopods which are also called lamp shells, cephalopods or ancient squids, and if your lucky shark teeth or in rare cases a dinosaur bone. Unfortunately this time around I didn't get any shark teeth or dinosaur bones but I made out with some nice shells and the fact that those shells were actually around during the time when Tyrannosaurus Rex walked the Earth is pretty neat and even exciting when you think about it. I would recommend to anyone to check out the Poricy Park Fossil Beds because it's a great place to learn and have fun. In the below pics you will see some highlights and finds we uncovered.
The sediment layers
“Visitor's Information: Middletown, NJ.” Middletown Township, New Jersey, Many Neighborhoods, One Middletown!, www.middletownnj.org/439/Visitors-Information.
"Guide to Fossils of Poricy Park" Middletown Township, New Jersey, Many Neighborhoods, One Middletown!, https://www.middletownnj.org/DocumentCenter/View/697/Fossils-of-Poricy-Brook?bidId=